A spooky and satisfying literary mystery that features two celebrated authors.

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Wake the Hollow

Triana (Summer of Yesterday, 2014, etc.) takes inspiration from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in this horror-tinged YA novel.

Six years ago, Micaela Burgos left Sleepy Hollow, New York, and moved to Miami with her father, leaving her mother behind with her creepy doll collection and obsession with the village’s most famous inhabitant, Washington Irving. Her mother always told Micaela that they were descended from Irving—but everyone knows he had no children, and how would Mami’s Cuban parents be related to him anyway? After years of little contact, Micaela, now a senior in high school, receives a letter from her mother, saying only, “Lela, please come home. It’s urgent.” By the time Micaela heeds the summons, Mami is dead, apparently of a fall in the bathtub. But the teen keeps having dreams about a ghostly woman who’s somehow familiar. As Micaela tries to learn what her mother wanted from her, she finds herself attracted to two very different boys: childhood friend Bram Derant, a member of one of the town’s oldest families, and Dane Boracich, a skinny graduate student trying to prove that Irving had a child after all, the result of an affair with the widowed Mary Shelley. Both of the boys warn her not to trust the other—and neither of them is telling her the whole truth. As forces ghostly and mundane work to isolate Micaela, can she find the strength to stand on her own—and fulfill her mother’s mission? In this page-turning, eerie novel, the author skillfully builds an air of quiet menace, where “pumpkins sit on front porches like families gathered in the dark, telling ghost stories.” The book’s action scenes echo the rhythms of hoofbeats, and the reader’s pulse should pound along with Micaela’s. It’s indeed ambitious to write a horror story involving Irving and Shelley, titans of the genre; luckily, Triana turns out to be up to the challenge, with a smart, unusual take on the true legend of Sleepy Hollow.

A spooky and satisfying literary mystery that features two celebrated authors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63375-351-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2016

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A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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Few chills and even less logic.

BENT HEAVENS

Can Liv put the pieces of her life back together after her father’s mental breakdown?

In rural Bloughton, Iowa, Liv takes solace in the cross country team and the idea that she will be off to college before too long. Three years ago, her father, the high school’s former English and drama teacher, vanished only to return naked and talking about alien abduction. He disappeared for good eight months later. Liv and her friend Doug check the elaborate traps her father built in the woods during those eight months every Sunday. The teacher who replaced him decides to stage the same musical that was her father’s swan song, and after getting in trouble for an outburst over her insensitivity, Liv decides to destroy the traps…but discovers that one has caught an alien. After hiding the horrifying creature in her father’s shed, they discover it has her father’s compass. In anger, Liv attacks the beast and then she and Doug torture it repeatedly as revenge for her missing father…but the alien is not what they perceive him to be, and as the truth is revealed, the horror mounts. Kraus’ (Blood Sugar, 2019, etc.) newest horror fantasy (there is no science here) might inspire more anger than horror as the protagonists respond to otherness with violence. Outrage will likely be followed by laughter at the stagy, manipulative, over-the-top conclusion. Most characters seem to be white.

Few chills and even less logic. (Horror. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15167-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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